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FDR's Hot Dog Party With King George VI

Left to Right: Mrs Franklin D. Roosevelt; King George VI of England; Mrs. Sarah Roosevelt; Queen Elizabeth (the "Queen Mother"); and President Roosevelt.

In June of 1939, King George VI became the first reigning British monarch to visit the United States. The trip featured all the staples of a royal visit: a sight-seeing tour of Washington, a formal State Dinner, and a big bash at the British Embassy, of which Representative Charles J. Bell said, "It was sort of like our church socials in Missouri."

And towards the end of the trip, the Roosevelts invited the royals to Hyde Park for hot dogs. Here's what else was on the menu:

MENU FOR PICNIC AT HYDE PARK

Sunday, June 11, 1939
Virginia Ham
Hot Dogs (if weather permits)
Smoked Turkey
Cranberry Jelly
Green Salad
Rolls
Strawberry Shortcake
Coffee, Beer, Soft Drinks

[Source: FDR Presidential Library & Museum]

So if your Fourth of July plans involve hot dogs (or cranberry jelly), you can honestly say you're eating like a king. Happy Fourth!

Franklin Delano Roosevelt chauffeurs Queen Elizabeth, her husband King George VI, and his daughter-in-law, Betsey Roosevelt.

The FDR Library has lots more on the royal visit:
FDR's original invitation (pages one and two)
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Transcript of King George VI's Handwritten Notes for a Memorandum on His Conversations with President Roosevelt on June 10 and 11, 1939
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FDR's thank you telegram to King George VI
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And you can read more general background on the visit here.

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Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice
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Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani once wrote that a violin's tone should "rival the most perfect human voice." Nearly three centuries later, scientists have confirmed that some of the world's oldest violins do in fact mimic aspects of the human singing voice, a finding which scientists believe proves "the characteristic brilliance of Stradivari violins."

Using speech analysis software, scientists in Taiwan compared the sound produced by 15 antique instruments with recordings of 16 male and female vocalists singing English vowel sounds, The Guardian reports. They discovered that violins made by Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, the pioneers of the instrument, produce similar "formant features" as the singers. The resonance frequencies were similar between Amati violins and bass and baritone singers, while the higher-frequency tones produced by Stradivari instruments were comparable to tenors and contraltos.

Andrea Amati, born in 1505, was the first known violin maker. His design was improved over 100 years later by Antonio Stradivari, whose instruments now sell for several million dollars. "Some Stradivari violins clearly possess female singing qualities, which may contribute to their perceived sweetness and brilliance," Hwan-Ching Tai, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. A 2013 study by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also pointed to a link between the sounds produced by 250-year-old violins and those of a female soprano singer.

According to Vox, a blind test revealed that professional violinists couldn't reliably tell the difference between old violins like "Strads" and modern ones, with most even expressing a preference for the newer instruments. However, the value of these antique instruments can be chalked up to their rarity and history, and many violinists still swear by their exceptional quality.

[h/t The Guardian]

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